WASHINGTON— Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he’s “absolutely” considering a run for president in 2020 and will take some time “over the coming months” to decide.
“I’ll consider that. I’m focused right now on my re-election but is that something I’ll consider? Absolutely,” Booker said at Yahoo! Finance’s All Markets Summit today.
“Now is not the time to do that. We’ve got re-elections in the field. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve just come off an election. I will do my best over the coming months,” he added.
When asked when he would make his decision, Booker replied, “My decision’s made right now. I’m running for re-election [in 2020], but will I take some time over the coming months to consider it? I absolutely will but let’s, like, this is bothersome to me that we’re two years out… it is too early to say.”
Booker continued, “Honestly, right now, this is those wonderful moments in Washington where we should be able to come together and get good work done before we start vulcanizing ourselves for presidential ambitions. I am so excited.”
Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for a federal investigation of the Georgia gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp.
“I mean, I don’t understand how you can have a guy who’s running for an office, who’s currently holding office, supposed to be policing and protecting elections, using that office to disenfranchise people, to remove people from the polls. I mean, there should be a federal investigation,” he said, referring to Kemp, who resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state after Election Day.
“The Justice Department should be investigating that election to make sure it was fair and the decisions that were made were not to politically advantage someone, but to protect voters and the voting process,” he added.
Booker argued that the governorship is being “stolen” from Abrams and said the situation goes beyond impropriety. A federal judge ordered a review of thousands of provisional ballots this week as Abrams has not conceded.
“I’m saying this from a perspective where I have not been in the weeds, but I think that Stacey Abrams’ election is being stolen from her, using what I think are insidious measures to disenfranchise certain groups of people,” the senator said.
“And that’s something I think that all of us should be calling for is the Trump Justice Department should conduct an investigation into what happened, because on the on the appearance of it that’s not just appearance of impropriety. To me, it’s the appearance of voter fraud, voter disenfranchisement, voter suppression,” he added.
Booker recently proposed a bill that would create federally funded savings accounts for children born in the U.S. as a way to address the “racial wealth gap” in the country. He estimated that the legislation, called the “American Opportunity Accounts Act,” would cost $50-$70 billion depending on how the program is managed.
“Even though disproportionately it’s the African-Americans stuck, the reality is we have a country right now where the lowest-income people are not finding ladders to success. They’re finding quicksand, and so there’s disproportionately minorities in that quicksand but there’s white folks as well,” he said.
“This is a bill that ultimately is about income. It’s not about black people get this money, white people get this money. It’s about economic empowerment and in this country, if you have a nest egg, imagine you’re 20 years old now, 18 years old, and you want to now make that investment. ‘I can get my college education,’ boom, trampoline into the middle class. ‘I want to buy a house,’ boom, you have wealth that you can now pass on,” he added.
Booker was asked how he would pay for the savings accounts.
“The wonderful thing about my bill is it’s, like it’s not a radical idea to pay for it. I mean, we just readjust the state tax back to what it was, I think, in 2009 and then on the biggest, wealthiest estates, $50 million or more, which affect a very tiny position, put an added tax on that and you have enough money to pay for this program,” Booker said.
“This is not some radical need to, like, create taxes. It’s, like, hey, let’s go back to where we were in the Obama administration and focus on other corrections within the tax code that again, remember, the wealthiest families in America have been benefiting from a tax code that benefits the wealthiest, overwhelmingly gives benefits to the wealthiest,” he added.
Booker described the savings account proposal as “very capitalist.”
“Some ideas like this, baby bonds, have come from conservative think tanks who like the idea of people developing capital – accounts that they will then invest,” he said. “This is actually a very capitalist idea, this idea that people who have resources have more agency and can make more decisions. So I love these labels we throw around. I get this from people a lot of the time saying, ‘You’re too far left, you’re too far right.’ I’m, like, stop with the labels. Talk to me about the policies that I support and let’s see if we agree on that.”